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Monday, 31 August 2020

Bitter Gourd Podi / Kakarakaya Karam Podi

Kakarakaya Karam podi is the a healthy bitter gourd spice powder from the Andhra Cuisine. This bitter gourd dry chutney made using roasted lentils, peanuts, seeds and whole spices along with added tamarind and jaggery is both aromatic and flavorful. It is a perfect way of adding the healthy goodness of bitter gourd to the daily diet of fussy eaters. With a good shelf life this diabetic friendly podi is vegan and gluten free. You can serve it as a side dish with steamed rice and chapati or pair it with breakfast dishes like idliDosa or Adai.

Bitter Gourd and its health benefits. Source

Bitter melon or bitter gourd is known as Karela in Hindi, Kakarakaya in Telugu, Pavakkai in Tamil, Pavakka in Malayalam, Hagalkai in Kannada, karela in Gujarati, Karle in Marathi and Korola in Bengali. It is a unique vegetable that can be used as food or medicine. Let's have a look at the health benefits of consuming bitter melon.
  • Bitter gourd is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It contains iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins like A and C. 
  • It contains twice the calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli.
  • Various anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds are present in bitter gourd. 
  • Bitter gourd also helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  •  It also strengthens immune system, improves respiratory healthy, boosts skin health and contains anti-ageing properties.
  • Bitter gourd acts as a hypoglycemic agent. It is a rich source of soluble fiber and is low in glycemic index, which helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
  • It is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Regular consumption of bitter gourd contributes to relieving constipation and indigestion. It supports healthy gut bacteria, which favors digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Bitter gourd is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. These properties together help in weight management. It keeps you full for longer, so you avoid over-eating.

Bitter But Good @FoodieMondayBlogHop

Foodie Monday Bloghop is a Facebook gourmet group, where a bunch of like-minded bloggers share their culinary creations each week depending upon a pre-decided theme. Bitter but good is the theme for the 262nd week on this group. Seriously speaking i had never tasted or heard of a chutney made using Bitter gourd until i saw my blogger friend Aruna posting it on her space, Aruna'sVegKitchen. Click here for the original recipe. I was amazed to read the recipe and i immediately shared it with my mummy as my papa is diabetic. My mom tried it out and was very happy with the taste. The chutney tasted delicious. Thereafter i tried it myself and my husband also liked it. My little one who hardly took a slice of bitter melon in his plate, too had it in little quantity. This week when Sasmita who blogs at Firsttimercook suggested that we come up with recipes using bitter vegetables, i knew that i was going to share this bitter melon podi for the theme. Meanwhile do check out Sasmita's space for authentic Odia recipes and other recipes from around the globe. I have bookmarked her Stuffed karela with potato curry and Neem flower patties to try out soon.

What goes into this Andhra Style Kakarakaya Podi  / Bitter Gourd Chutney ?

 As mentioned above i have referred this recipe from my friend Aruna's blog. I have added few ingredients in this podi apart from what she has mentioned in her recipe. Lets see all the ingredients.

  • Bitter melon - This is a bitter gourd podi. I have used 250 grams of bitter gourd in this recipe. Always select fresh green bitter melon for best results. Mine were tender and did not have any seeds in them. But even if there are seeds we can use the whole bitter gourd in this recipe. We grate the entire bitter melon and thus this is a zero waste recipe. 
  • Lentils : Urad dal (skinned and split black gram) and Bengal gram ( chana dal) are dry roasted and used in this podi.
  • Seeds: Cumin seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds were mentioned in the original recipe. Apart from these i have added sesame seeds , flax seeds and fennel seeds also in this podi.
  • Peanuts and coconut : Peanuts and dry coconut flakes are dry roasted and used in this recipe.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic adds a wonderful flavor to the podi. However you may skip it for a satvik version of podi.
  • Dry Red Chilies and Curry leaves:  Curry leaves are fried in  little oil along with dry red chilies. The amount of dry red chilies mentioned here gives a moderately spicy podi. You may adjust the quantity as per your spice tolerance.
  • Tamarind and Jaggery : This podi has bitter, spicy, tangy and sweet flavors that makes it tasty. Gooseberry size tamarind is used and a little quantity of jaggery as well. You may skip jaggery if you wish. I have added a bit more jaggery than what is mentioned in the original recipe.
  • Oil: Very little oil is used in this recipe.

Dietary Notes:
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Can be made Satvik if you skip garlic cloves
  • Diabetic friendly
  • Healthy
Storage and Serving Suggestions:
  • The bitter gourd podi stays good at room temperature for around 15-20 days when stored in an air-tight container.
  • The shelf life of the podi can be increased upon refrigeration.
  • The podi tastes best with steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.
  • It can be paired with flatbread like chapati, paratha.
  • It also goes well with breakfast dishes like idli, dosa, adai, upma.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1 cup podi

  • 250 grams bitter gourd
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoon dry coconut flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoon Bengal gram / Chana dal
  • 2 teaspoon black gram / Urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-7 dry red chilies
  • 4-5 garlic cloves 
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 gooseberry size tamarind
  • 1 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 3 teaspoon oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. To begin with making bitter gourd podi, first wash and pat dry the bitter gourd using a Kitchen towel. Now grate it using a grater. Sprinkle salt over the grated bitter gourd and keep it aside for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile we will roast the spices. Heat a pan on medium flame. Add coriander seeds and dry roast the seeds for 1 minute or so. Add Cumin seeds and mustard seeds to it and roast for another 30-40 seconds. Remove the seeds on a plate to cool down.

3. Now roast the lentils (chana dal and urad dal ) on low to medium flame until aromatic. Remove them in the same plate. Now dry roast the flax seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds and dry coconut flakes if using. Also dry roast the peanuts and keep aside to cool down.

4. Next, add few drops of oil and fry the garlic pods, red chilies and curry leaves on low flame. Take care not to burn the chilies. I forgot to take the pic of this step. Once all the roasted ingredients have cooled down transfer them to a grinder jar. Add salt and tamarind to it and blitz to get a coarse powder.

5. Next, squeeze out all the water from the bitter gourd and adding remaining oil to the pan fry the bitter gourd on medium flame until it becomes free of moisture and turn light brown in color.

6. Allow the fried bitter gourd also to cool down before transferring it to the pounded spice powder. Add jaggery powder and pulse this mix again so that all the ingredients blend well. You can make the podi fine. I have kept it a bit coarse.

7. Spread the podi on a plate and allow it to cool down for some time before transferring it to an air tight container. Use the podi as required.

Recipe Notes:
  • I have referred the recipe from here.
  • Roast all the ingredients on low to medium flame
  • The above quantity of ingredients is for 250 grams of bitter gourd. If you are using more or less amount of bitter gourd then adjust the quantity of spices and lentils accordingly.
  • Always use fresh bitter gourd for best results.
  • You can skip adding Jaggery or add more as per your liking. 
  • Make sure you fry the bitter melon until it is free of all moisture for the podi to last longer.
  • The podi stays good up to 15-20 in an air-tight container at room temperature and up to a month when refrigerated.
I hope a few of you would love to try out this recipe. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with us in the form of likes and comments in the comment section below this post. All your suggestions are also more than welcome. If you like my work and feel it is worth following, do hit the follow button at the top right corner of this blog. Your appreciation means a lot to me. For more recipes and new updates follow us on social media.

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  1. good recipe, Poonam ! Made perfectly ... We have this often with Steamed rice , ghee ...

    1. Thank you Kalyani. We loved it with chapati as well.

  2. Podi color looks delicious. Have tasted this long long ago but had totally forgotten. Thanks for reminding through your recipe.

    1. Glad you liked it Priya. Do give it a try. Thank you.

  3. Bitter gourd podi looks super tempting Poonam. I would love to have it with hot steamed rice and ghee. Tangy and bitter taste with little sweetness sounds great. Wonderful recipe. Perfect for diabetic people.

    1. Thank you di. Do give it a try. I am sure you will love it.

  4. This is such a lovely way to have bitter gourd! The podi sounds super flavourful. With some hot rice and ghee, this podi would taste heavenly! :)

    1. Absolutely Priya ! This bitter gourd podi tastes great with steamed rice and ghee.

  5. A new recipe for me Poonam, making a podi using bitter gourd. I should try and and make it especially for my hubby as he loves karela. With all the spices, garlic, coconut, lentils and jaggery, it must be so flavorful.

    1. Yes this this karela podi is very flavorful and aromatic. Do share your feedback once you try it out.

  6. good recipe, Poonam ! Made perfectly ... We have this often with Steamed rice , ghee ...
    Thank post

    1. Hi Linda. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it.

  7. This is the best type of podi I have come across. Bitter gourd podi looks simply iresistible.

  8. Nice post It’s very useful for me and I am very much impressed with your meaningful thoughts. I regard something truly interesting about your web blog so I saved to favorites.
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  9. Bitter gourd podi sounds so perfect with some hot steamed rice topped with ghee. I am sure this is an wonderful share using bitter gourd !

  10. I love it. At my place I am the only one who enjoys bitter gourd so with this podi I can hoodwink the full family in to eating bitter gourd. Thanks Poonam

    1. I am glad you liked it. Do share your feedback once you give it a try.

  11. This podi is so flavorful and healthy. Good idea to sneak in Karela for those who don’t like. We love to have it with rice and ghee. Very beautifully done Poonam.

  12. Thanks for trying my recipe Poonam, you made it more healthy by adding flax seeds. Will try your version soon, also loved your presentation, it looks amazing.Just need hot steamed rice and ghee:)

    1. I hope I did justice to your recipe Aruna. This podi is going to be a regular feature in my kitchen now.

  13. Bitter gourd podi sounds so interesting. Looks like good staple in kitchen and very healthy too.

  14. Nice recipe I love it...recipe little different then my mom's recipe she doesn't add dal. . will try your recipe too... but do not know how to tag you.

    1. Hi Mamta. Thanks for stopping by. You can tag me on Facebook or Instagram.